Advent Greetings and Merry Christmas, too!
I had fully intended not to write a Christmas letter this year – a plan to make me feel better about the fact that I was sure I wouldn’t have time! But it seems I’m addicted to writing a yearly letter, and as I presume you enjoy all the fun tidbits and news about the family (however cheesily they may be presented), here goes another:
Matt’s finishing up his first year as the Motorcycle Traffic Enforcement Officer with his department, and he really loves his new niche. So much, in fact, that he bought his own motorcycle for the commute, and I don’t think I’ve seen him so giddy in quite awhile. Don’t worry, he’s a very safe and careful rider! I’d have to say one of his other little happinesses this year (if I’m not mixing up my years) was the finding of our dog, Dobby the House Dog. Matt really missed the basset hound we once owned, and though I did not especially miss her, I hunted around for yet another one for my hubby. The perfect dog for us happened to be a stray basset who wandered into a local pound. The “hound from the pound” came home, and settled very happily into our house. Matt adores him, the girls all love him, and I must admit he’s a perfect dog for us…he must think so, too, as he never runs away, and he has mapped out every warm area in the house where he can lay down and fulfill his calling as “the great lump.”
Matt had expressed a desire for our family to become more musical, and grow in our knowledge and understanding of music as a way to bring joy and beauty, and of course to glorify our Father. To that end, Isabelle and I joined the church choir, and we absolutely love it! I’m thankful they took us, as I often wondered if I was tone deaf, but we are learning some incredibly beautiful music, growing in our ability to sing (and not have to take so many breaths!), and blessed to be sitting under a brilliant choir director who teaches us more than she realizes, and makes us laugh, too – many blessings. We were also thrilled when our churches formed a singing/music school for all the little ones in our community. Four of our five girls are happily skipping off to music school each week, and learning delightful songs to fill our days – everything from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, to bits of classical masterpieces – we are so thankful for this lovely and fun new addition to our week!
Isabelle at 7 still delights in reading through massive amounts of books – I think she stays up later reading than I do. She says King Arthur and his knights is her favorite book, but she was rather hard pressed to actually name just one! She also started piano lessons this year, which is a perfect addition to singing school and choir. She’s having to “learn to read” all over again with musical notation, but she’s already surpassing her mom and dad’s ability in this area! She also learned to ride a two-wheel bike this summer, and has now lost her first tooth!
Hannah, who is five and half, is a creative little gem who comes up with the most entertaining illustrated stories. She somehow thinks of wildly different plots each time she writes one, draws with devotion, and we love reading her little phonetically spelled adventures! She’s getting quicker at reading, and loves to do math…not that I had really intended to teach her first grade math at five, but she always asks to do that first. Mommy’s footsteps, indeed, we had to have another little math-lover! Oh, and she learned to ride a two-wheeler as well…good times!
Naomi is four and a half, and I think she’s grown even taller than Hannah! She’s growing up in so many ways, which I think suits her as she’s always preferred doing “real” things to playing. She loves when I make potatoes, because she can sit and cut up all the peels! She loves to sing (in her beautiful “singing voice”) all the fun songs from singing school, and she still loves to dance. In fact, she always has about ten times more energy than I do … I need to figure out how to get some of that, too! She loves “preschool time” with mom and Juli, and is learning the letters in her name. Her grandma taught her to play a couple of board games this year, and she would happily do that all the time if she could!
Juliette, who will turn four in a few weeks time, always entertains us with her unique view of the world. She sees everything just a bit differently than the rest of us, and it usually either confounds us completely or makes us chuckle. She was absolutely thrilled to become part of singing school, as she was a bit too young when they first began. She’s joined in for two weeks now, and done beautifully – it’s nice having her and Naomi together as they are often quite inseparable. She adores princesses – tiny or big, and has a strange habit of storing everything she loves in the world behind the header of her bed – it’s amazing how much she can stuff back there (and usually includes at least a few princesses)! I would also say Juliette loves Dobby more than anyone else except perhaps daddy. It’s not unusual to find her in the corner, with her arms around his neck – if she can get him to stay there!
Alyssa is our little blondie, and looks just like her Hungarian daddy. She has far more personality than I’m sure ought to be allowed in a two-year old! I’m also pretty sure she thinks that she runs the world, and she learned to speak well early on, just so she could tell us so! She definitely keeps us on our toes and finds all sorts of unique mischief to get herself into. Nonetheless, she’s an adorable little helper – practically sprinting to put things in the hamper or garbage for me. She gives the sweetest kisses, and the best “squeezy hugs” in the world! She is a delight to us all, and has particularly attached herself to mommy like a little magnet…it’s earned her the nickname of my “personal penguin”– if you don’t know what that is, you’ll have to google it! When she’s not stuck to mom, you might find her trying to convince Dobby to let her ride on him!
Oh, a bit about me is in order, I suppose. Well, if I didn’t mention it before, I’m a bit pregnant – a wee baby is in the tummy! I’m just about to finish up my first trimester, so the new little one should arrive in summer. This pregnancy has taken quite a toll on me, so I’m more thankful than ever before for a husband who loves and serves me so sweetly! I still try to get out and work with our horse, Farah, but that has been put on hold a bit till I get past these (hopefully few!) sick weeks…that, and I’m a wimp when the weather is in the teens! When it’s not so freezing, and I’m not too sick, though, we all enjoy Farah- she’s a delightfully easy horse to train, and is happy for any of us to ride her! Wonder if she’ll still be happy when I’ve gained twenty more pounds…
All in all, we’re chugging along pretty happily over here, even if we’re doing a lot less than usual till I’m past this trimester. God has, as always, been incredibly kind to us, and we are so thankful for His blessings and the peace He bestows upon His children. We pray this joy and peace will be yours in abundance this Christmas season. Know that we are thankful for you, our loving friends and family, even though we are far from many of you. Blessings and God’s grace to you all!
Matthew, Melissa, Isabelle, Hannah, Naomi, Juliette, Alyssa, and little Baby….